If the heat in the apartment is so severe that it becomes unlivable, then the landlord is typically responsible for fixing it. Additionally, some local housing codes require that apartment units be maintained at certain temperatures.
No AC Unit
Whether the landlord needs to provide cooling as part of the apartment depends heavily by state. In some states, it may be considered an implied part of the lease – part of the “implied warranty of habitability.” That means if a landlord fails to provide adequate cooling, then the landlord is responsible. Other states (notably, California and New York), treat AC as an amenity and not a basic part of the apartment. In those states, the tenant is responsible for providing their own cooling unit. In some states, tenants must ask permission from the landlord before installing window or centralized AC to an apartment unit.
Local housing codes sometimes require apartments to remain below a certain temperature. Tenants can report violations to local authorities, usually resulting in a building inspection and a report. Failure to fix the problem after an inspection usually results in fines. If an apartment is too hot to the extent that it causes constant sweating or other similar symptoms of unhealthiness, then the tenant might be entitled to move out despite having a lease. See the state rules for the implied warranty of habitability.
AC Unit Broke
If there was an AC unit when the tenant moved in, then, the tenant and landlord should look to the lease. If the lease does not mention whose responsibility it is, then look to your state and local law. The default rules are that the landlord doesn’t have to fix or maintain appliances at all, but some jurisdictions require the landlord to repair any appliance that was provided when the tenant moved in and others require landlords to repair appliances that were promised in the apartment advertisement.
State and Local Laws
Laws differ heavily by state, county, and city. Use RenterPeace to see more specific laws for to a given apartment and to see comments from people in your area.
Documenting the Problem
For most problems, tenants should document their issues, notify their landlord (document this too!), and stay informed about their rights. Renterpeace is a free website that helps with each step of this process. Tenants use RenterPeace to more easily see applicable laws, track their problems, and much more. There's a reason RenterPeace was selected "Best of" legal apps for both Android and iOS. It also includes household management tools, like a chore manager and bill tracker. Try it - you don't even to login first.
Using Property Management
To stay updated and organized about the problems in their apartments, landlords should use a property management system. Many are expensive or have high setup fees, but using RenterPeace for landlords is free. It's complete with legal compliance tips targeted to their problems, maintenance tracking, tenant screening, money-saving grant information, and tenant chat. It makes managing properties easier and staying updated about status of rental properties a breeze. Try it today.